S: 50th Anniversary
FC: Bill and JoAnn Leavins 1961 - 2011
1: Acknowledgements Thank You to the family and friends of Bill and Jo Ann for their participation in the making of this special book of memories, pictures and well wishes on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. December 1961 - December 2011
3: JoAnn and Bill Leavins
4: . | Bill and Jo Ann met in Bonifay, Florida in the summer of 1958. Bill was 20 years old and Jo Ann was 16. Bill lived in Port Arthur and was in Bonifay on a two week vacation with his family. Jo Ann was living there with her family. Bill and his cousin, Delton Boswell, were out one afternoon 'cruising the drag' when they saw Jo Ann driving by with a car load of girls. Delton liked Jo Ann and he and Bill decided to follow them. They wound up at the church where Jo Ann's daddy was preaching. This is where they first met. Bill ask Jo Ann if she would go out with him. She told him he could come in and sit with her in church, and that she wouldn't be able to go out with him unless he did. Jo Ann went to church on Wednesday, Friday, and twice on Sunday! Bill tried to see Jo Ann every day that two weeks while he was in Bonifay. Bills family vacation came to an end and they went home to Port Arthur. He and Jo Ann continued to correspond through letters and phone calls. Bill visited Jo Ann several times while she was living in Bonifay. In the winter of 1960, Jo Ann's family left Bonifay, Florida and moved to Chicago, Illinois. Jo Ann got a job at a variety store named Nicener's working as the 'sock girl'. She walked to work every day and said "the snow was piled up
5: higher than my head!" Needless to say...the sock business was good in Chicago. Her job was to take care of the sock counter. She said they had every kind of sock you could think of. She spent every Monday straightening the socks that the customers had rifled through. She said it took her all day long to straighten the socks. The manager of the store, Mr. Goldstein, was proud of her sock counter because she always kept it so neat. Some of the school girls and boys would come in the store and steal the socks. Management never did anything about the girls stealing them, but they took the boys to the basement. Jo Ann said she didn't know what they did to the boys when they took them to the basement, but when they came out, they were scared and never stole from the store again! She said she thought they might have beat them with a rubber hose! Jo Ann made $40.00 a week as the sock girl. In July of 1961, Jo Ann left Chicago to visit Bill in Port Arthur, Texas. She rode all the way on a Greyhound bus by herself. She said she pinned her money in her bra! She stayed with Bills family in Texas for a week. While she was visiting, she and Bill decided that he should visit her in Chicago. In September of 1961, Bill went to Chicago with the intention of marrying Jo Ann. He sold everything he had and took a train to meet her. Jo Ann was waiting at one bus station, while Bill was getting off at another. When Bill didn't show up at the station where Jo Ann was waiting, she thought he either missed his train, or changed his mind and decided not to meet her.
6: Bill had ask the conductor of the train which station was closest to down town and he got off where the conductor told him to, which of course, was not the station where Jo Ann was waiting. When Bill couldn't find Jo Ann at the station, he took a cab to Jo Ann's house. When he showed up, Jo Ann ask him, "How did you get here!?". Bill stayed with Jo Ann's family in the basement apartment where they lived, across from Comisky Park, the white sox baseball field. He got a job at the Packard Cadillac repair shop. He made $280.00 a week and was the only man in the shop to get a Christmas bonus. He also worked at the Acorn Box Company. Bill said when he left for work in the mornings, it was so cold that the car would go "tog-e-dy-tog-e-dy" before it would finally start! While living in Chicago, Bill and Jo Ann would go to the wrestling matches on Friday nights. Sometimes they would go to the drive in movie theater. Bill said they went to church every time the church doors were opened! After church, they would go get hamburgers from White Castle or Hatfields. Jo Ann said they were delicious...Bill said they were the sorriest hamburgers he ever ate. In December of 1961, six months after Bill moved to Chicago, he and Jo Ann decided to get married. When they went to City Hall to get their marriage license, they lost their car. They said there were so many doors that they forgot which one they came in.
7: On December 16, 1961, Bill and Jo Ann had a small wedding in the basement apartment where they had been living with Jo Ann's family. There were twelve guest in attendance. The Reverend Ferguson officiated. Bill wore a navy blue suit and Jo Ann wore a white dress and hat that she bought on Halstead Street in Chicago. She wore a corsage instead of carrying a bouquet. There was so much snow and ice in Chicago the day they were married that they couldn't travel far. Bill said you could slam your car door and the whole car would jus slide right up against the curb. Since travel was limited, they had a one night honeymoon at the Lake Shore Motel on Lake Shore Drive. Lake Michigan was right across from the motel. When they arrived at the motel, Bill went in to get a room. The cheapest room available was $25.00 a night! The bell-boy carried their bags to the room and stood there waiting for a tip, but he never got one! Bill and Jo Ann decided to order room service. They looked the menu over trying to find something affordable to eat. They ordered the cheapest item on the menu, which wound up being a hamburger steak that cost $10.00 apiece. After their one night at the Lake Shore Motel, they went back to Jo Ann's family's house and stayed until after Christmas.
8: At the end of December, 1961, Bill and Jo Ann left Chicago headed for Texas in a 1951 black and white two door hard top Pontiac, Catalina. Bill said the trunk was loaded full, and the back seat had so much in it that he only had about a six inch space of glass to see out the back of the car. He also said the car would only go about 50 miles per hour and burned a quart of oil every 100 miles. Before they ever got out of Chicago, they got pulled over by the police for one of their tail lights. The policeman made them follow him to the station and pay the ticket right on the spot. He also made Bill paint the bulb with red nail polish. By the time they reached Texarkana, Arkansas, that car was running great and they were driving 90 - 95 miles per hour! They finally arrived in Port Arthur, Texas. They stayed with Bill's mom and dad for the first few weeks, then moved into Bill's sister and brother-in-law, Rose and Jim's garage that had been fixed up into a little apartment. This was on 5th avenue in Port Arthur. They had their first daughter, Shannon while they were living there. They stayed in the apartment for about two years, then moved into a little house on 9th avenue in Port Arthur. They had their second daughter, Billie Jo, while living in the house on 9th avenue. They continued to live their for about five years before moving to Nederland where they raised their two daughters for the next fourteen years.
9: With their children raised and out of school, they decided to move to Lumberton where Bill could have some land and Jo Ann could be closer to her parents. Bill and Jo Ann still reside in Lumberton where they are as happy together now as they were 50 years ago! It is a rare thing these days to stay married for 50 years. Being in love is one thing, staying in love is something altogether different. Bill and Jo Ann have that special something it takes to stay in love and make their marriage last for many more years to come.
10: Bill and JoAnn
13: "How do I Love thee?" How do I love thee? let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise; I love thee with the passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
17: The Wedding Party
18: If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you. "Winnie the Pooh" A.A. Milne
20: December 2011 Bud and Sis; As you have walked down the road together for half a century, making great memories and raising two great girls our Prayer for you two is that your memories will sustain you as you start your Golden Years together. May each step be comforted by our God, who carries us when we can't carry ourself. The Very Best Wishes for a GREATER TOMORROW. Much, Much Love, Rose and Jim
21: March 18, 1989 JoAnn's birthday June & Dickie Berg's Restaurant
22: JoAnn and Bill, JoAnn, your always there when someone in our family needs a hug, a prayer or just a comforting word. You seem to always understand how we feel and know the right things to say. You were there for us many times. We don't always say how we feel, but Jr. and I love you for everything you do. Bill your a good person with a big heart. Whenever we had a crisis like, a flood, a hurricane, just to name a few. You were always there to lend us a hand! Jr. and I wish you both all our love and best wishes on your 50th Anniversary. Love Jr. & Marie
23: Sorority Days
24: Have only known Bill and JoAnn for a short time but they have become so special to both of us. We are so thankful for the fellowship we have with them. Enjoy their zest for life, it is refreshing. Joe and Rachel Lewis | Aunt JoAnn and Uncle Bill, Congratulations on making it 50 years! That's a big accomplishment! We hope to be there one day. Love Brandon & Danielle
29: Mama and Daddy, Funny what your remember from your childhood. I always remember the time mama threw the open can of tomato soup at daddy and it hit the curtains. What a mess that was! During the clean up process there was a lot of laughter. I remember all the fun times I had at the lake on vacation. I always felt safe and secure as a child and had no worries. As an adult today I appreciate and know that comes from the relationship my parents share in their marriage. I can't express how wonderful you where as parents growing up. I have always known you where both their for me, because of the loving relationship that has always been present in your marriage. I hope you have another 50 years together. Congratulations on your 50th Wedding Anniversary! Love Shannon
30: Mama and Daddy I cannot find words to say how much you both mean to me and how much I love ya'll. All my life you have both been there for me, always willing to help me any way you could. I have had some tough times and neither of you have ever let me down. Whether I was right or wrong you have always stood by my side. You have both helped me raise my children, and you will never know how much that has meant to me. The girls probably don't realize yet just how lucky they have been to have had the two of you in their lives. I pray that they will always remain close. If I had been allowed to choose my own parents, I couldn't have found any better than what God gave me. Congratulations on 50 years together! Love, Billie Jo
40: Friends | 50 Years | JoAnn and Joan
41: To JoAnn and Bill JoAnn, as I sit here I can think of lots of funny things that has happened and also some not so funny things that have happened over the years. But the one thing that comes to my mind is "Friend". I think we have always been friends, even when we were very young. I can't ever remember as a child or as a young woman ever having been mad at each other. As we have gotten older we have had some disagreements, but we never got mad at each other. We always remain friends. Thanks for being my sister and best friend. Bill I will always think of you as another brother. Although, as you remember a funny thing did happen way back in 1963, JoAnn, you and me slept together. Let people think about that one! Happy 50th Anniversary to Both of You, Love Joan and Richard
44: Aunt JoAnn you are my favorite aunt. You have always been there for me. I remember coming to your house spending the night and loving it because I could eat peanut butter and jelly. I remember you being there for me when I had Blake. You were willing to stay up at the hospital with me if I needed you. I remember when you came over here to daddy and mama's house with your bible and prayed with me all night. I could go on and on how much you mean to me. Uncle Bill you always have a kind smile and a nice word to say. Always asking how we are doing. I wish you both a happy 50th Anniversary and many more. Love You Always, Gray, Deborah, Tyler, Blake, & Chloe
45: Maw Maw & Paw Paw, ya'll have always put your family first for as long as I can remember thank you for always being there for us. Love, Codi
47: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart. Helen Keller
48: Happy Anniversary You Two, Who would have thought 50 years ago we would still be so young, healthy and full of energy as we are today. The way we handled our hardships all these years by laughing it off and making it fun and making do with whatever we had. When me and Kenneth look back it seems the poorer days were the happier ones. Just a few of our memories are: Right after we all got married, we decided to go camping, now camping then for us four was much different then than it is now. We went to Nibletts Bluff in Louisiana, we had no tent, no cots, nothing, nada, what we did was pull the seats out of our car, spread blankets on the ground over a ground full of sweet gum balls. (talk about a ther a pedic bed). Then we had wild hogs running around us all night, only our campfire kept them away.(Now thats camping fun). Another night of fun, we rode over to Port Neches Park it was close to midnight. We were just walking around down by the waterfront watching a ship go by (cheap entertainment) suddenly we heard a splash, then a mans scream help me I'm drowning. We started yelling back swim this way you can make it come on swim, now remember its dark as pitch but we kept yelling to encourage him.
49: Bill and Kenneth waded into the river and helped this guy out. About the time they got him on shore a cop pulled up to see what we were doing out there that late at night. The cop took this guy and put him in the cop car. We figured he arrested him. We never knew if he was thrown off the ship or jumped but he was lucky to be alive. You can't get that kind of excitement sitting in a movie theater and all it cost us was a quarters worth of gas. Then there was the times when even with Bill and Kenneth working extra jobs we had to come up with ways to stretch our dollar, so me and Jo Ann would combine our resources and whip up some pretty delicious suppers chicken and dumplins and pear cobbler (pears off Daddy's trees). Paula Deen had nothing on us. So Bill and JoAnn as you go through the next 50 years of your marriage, just remember you must be doing something right! Wishing you all the best, Kenneth and Marian
50: Fifty years is really not enough In which to plumb the depths of someone's soul. Fifty more years, then, should be the goal; To know the beauty of another's love, Yearnings shape, and life-long shadows buff. Yet life was never easy in those years, Everest is sometimes hard to climb, A will to love has brought you to this time Rich in joys that time cannot remove, So may this day be filled with happy tears! Nicholas Gordon
51: 50 years you’ve been together! You’ve always been a loving team, In sunny and stormy weather. Nothing can tarnish your lasting love At 50 years, you're gold. Your affection shines as you go through the years, With each other to love and to hold. -Joanna Fuchs Love Sydney